Daily news summary

Country gearing up for Monday’s final stage of roadmap to ease restrictions

The Czech Republic is gearing up for Monday’s final stage of a government plan to ease restrictions imposed to contain the coronavirus pandemic. Restaurants, cafés and hotels will be able to reopen their entire premises and events attended by up to 300 people will be permissible.

Many elementary school children will be allowed to return, at parents’ discretion and dependent on schools’ ability to serve smaller groups. In addition face masks will only have to be worn in enclosed spaces and in close proximity to others.

It will also be possible to visit most hospitals and care homes and the country’s castles while chateaus will launch their new season, two months later than usual. Hygiene requirements will be in place at all of the referred to facilities. Country gearing up for Monday’s final stage of roadmap to ease restrictions

Some restrictions to remain in place in Covid-19 hit Karviná

Some restrictions aimed at curbing the coronavirus will remain in place in Karviná in the Moravian Silesian Region on Monday, when they are eased elsewhere. It will not be possible to visit health facilities in the area or to have gatherings of over 100 people, officials said, after over 200 cases of the coronavirus were linked to an outbreak at Darkov mine.

The restrictions are expected to be kept in place in Karviná for at least another two weeks. Over 2,000 people have been tested for Covid-19 in the area since the local outbreak began.

Govt. unwilling to compensate firms for losses over Covid-19 restrictions, says Benešová

The Czech government is not planning to create a mechanism for the compensation of firms over the restrictions imposed to contain Covid-19, the minister of justice, Marie Benešová, said on TV Prima on Sunday. She said that if companies had suffered losses because of the measures they could take the matter to the courts.

The head of the Pirate Party’s deputies group, Jakub Michálek, criticised this stance, saying the government was relying on firms being reluctant to take legal action.

Mrs. Benešová said the cabinet had supported enterprises in a number of ways, including a short-time work scheme (commonly known as kursarbeit) and the deferral of levies.

Minister: New form of smart quarantine project to cost CZK 200 million in 2020

The minister of health, Adam Vojtěch, says the new form of a national smart quarantine programme focused on Covid-19 will cost around CZK 200 million this year. The Ministry of Health is due to take over the project on Monday. The funding will go toward IT and 150 specialised staff deployed around the country, Mr. Vojtěch said on Czech Television on Sunday.

The minister said that “Smart Quarantine 2.0” would be more robust than the current form of the scheme, which was created quickly in response to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in the Czech Republic.

The system will be able to track data on 400 infected persons a day but could be expanded to handle as many as 1,000. Involvement will remain voluntary.

President and PM condemn present and former ministers’ criticism of Israel West Bank plan

President Miloš Zeman has criticised an article by the Czech foreign minister, Tomáš Petříček, and two of his predecessors, Lubomír Zaorálek and Karel Schwarzenberg, in which they condemn Israeli plans to annex Jewish settlements on the West Bank of the Jordan. In a piece in the newspaper Právo on Saturday the three said that Israel’s proposal would contravene international law.

Mr. Zeman said that the article undermined relations between the Czech Republic and Israel.

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš also criticized Mr. Petříček and Mr. Lubomír Zaorálek, who is currently Czech arts minister. Mr. Babiš said it was unacceptable for individual cabinet members to make statements on such an important foreign policy issue.

Weather forecast

Monday should be cloudy with daytime highs of up to 13 degrees Celsius in the Czech Republic. Most of the week is expected to have similar weather, with temperatures not exceeding 18 degrees Celsius.